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High Roller Seeds Cover Crops
Don Birky is one of those farmers who takes an idea and runs with it. When Soil and Water Conservation officer Dave Bishop mentioned they were looking for a machine to seed cover crops in standing corn, Birky was literally all ears. “Dave’s question got us to thinking we might be able to modify a RoGator to give it more clearance, maybe up to 10 ft. so it would clear the tassels,” Birky says.
  He and his son Matt, who farm near Gibson City, Ill., and also operate On Track Farming, a spraying service, put pencil to paper and sketched out some ideas. Eventually, they settled on attaching large plates to each wheel that would pivot hydraulically and raise the RoGator frame.
  “We had to widen the stance of the machine and then add steel plates that are reinforced with large straps to provide side-to-side and front-to-rear stability,” Birky says. “Each extension arm has a 5-in. hydraulic cylinder with 28 in. of travel that operates from a single control in the cab. We can raise the machine from about 6 1/2 ft. up to 10 1/2 ft. of clearance.”
  That increased height on the High Roller is more than enough so the machine can drive in mature corn and still clear the tassels. They also built an extendable arm that reaches from the front of the machine into the standing corn, equipping it with a camera and steering sensors to guide the machine as it moves through tall corn. Birky said the sensors work like auto steer and keep the machine on track.
  Seeding is done with a 60-ft. boom attached to the back of the machine. Nozzles placed 30 in. on center deliver seed via air pressure at rates from 3 lbs. to 20 lbs. an acre. The High Roller has a tank with two compartments, so it can be used for dual rate seeding or applying fertilizer with the seed. Birky said about 90 percent of the seed reaches the ground, and normal precipitation will allow most of it to germinate.
  “We can haul about 6 tons of product in a load and travel 10 to 12 miles an hour in the field with the High Roller,” Birky says. “This machine is equipped only for dry product, but the adjustable legs will work on a liquid applicator too. The liquid applicator would be ideal for applying fungicide or foliar feed after the corn has tasseled.”
  The Birky’s machine drew so much attention at field days they decided to patent the lifting mechanism and hope to sell production rights to an equipment manufacturer. “We’ve had interest from companies that build sprayers and companies that build component parts. We hope to make a decision on who will manufacture and market the mechanism later this year,” he says.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Don Birky, On-Track Farming, 3530 County Rd. 300E, Foosland, Ill. 61845 (ph 503 397-2274; wdbirky@yahoo.com).

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2011 - Volume #35, Issue #6